[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Franklin 9-13-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-8. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to L. 1972, c. 35 (N.J.S.A. 40:56A.1 et seq.), there is hereby established in and for the Township of Franklin an Environmental Commission, to be known as the "Franklin Township Environmental and Open Space Commission."
The Environmental and Open Space Commission shall consist of seven members to be appointed by the Mayor, one of which seven members shall be a member of the Franklin Township Planning Board. All members so appointed shall be residents of the Township of Franklin and shall serve without compensation. All appointments to such Commission shall be for a term of three years or until a successor is appointed and qualified beginning the first day of January of the first year of the term. The initial appointment of said Commission shall have the terms of one, two or three years so as to provide for staggered expiration of the terms. The Mayor shall designate which of the appointees shall serve as Chairman or Presiding Officer of the Commission. Any vacancy on the Commission other than by expiration of term shall be filled for the unexpired term. Removal of any appointee shall be for cause, only on written charges and after hearing before the Mayor and Township Committee.
In addition to resignation or death of an appointee or an appointee's moving of his or her residence from the Township, any appointee who shall fail to attend three successively called meetings of the Commission shall be deemed to have vacated his or her appointment to the Commission, at the discretion of the Township Committee.
The Environmental and Open Space Commission shall include two alternate members, Alternate 1 and Alternate 2, for a term of two years. The term of Alternate 2 shall be initially for one year and thereafter for the stated two-year appointment. An alternate member may participate in discussions of the proceedings of the Commission but may not vote except in the absence or disqualification of a regular member. A vote shall not be delayed in order that a regular member may vote instead of an alternate member. In the event that a choice must be made as to which alternate member is to vote, Alternate No. 1 shall vote first.
The Environmental and Open Space Commission shall have the power to conduct research into the use and possible use of the open land areas of the Township and may coordinate the activities of unofficial bodies organized for similar purposes and may advertise, prepare, print and distribute books, maps, charts, plans and pamphlets which in its judgment it deems necessary for its purposes. It shall keep an index of all open areas, publicly or privately owned, including open marshlands, swamps and other wetlands, in order to obtain information on the proper use of such areas, and may from time to time recommend to the Franklin Township Planning Board plans and programs for inclusion in a Township Master Plan and the development and use of such areas.
The Environmental and Open Space Commission may, subject to the approval of the Township Committee, acquire property, both real and personal, in the name of the Township, by gift, purchase, grant, bequest, devise or lease, for any of its purposes and shall administer the same for such purposes, subject to the terms of the conveyance or gift. Such an acquisition may be to acquire the fee or any lesser interest, development right, easement (including conservation easements), covenant or other contractual right (including a conveyance on conditions or with limitations or reversions), as may be necessary to acquire, maintain, improve, protect, limit the future use of or otherwise conserve and properly utilize open spaces and other land and water areas in the Township.
The Environmental and Open Space Commission shall keep records of its meetings and activities and shall make an annual report to the Township Committee.
The governing body of a municipality may appropriate funds for the expenses incurred by the Environmental Commission. The Commission may appoint such clerks and other employees as it may from time to time require and as shall be within the limits of funds appropriated to it.
The Commission may be dissolved at any time by the majority vote of the Township Committee.